Another great result to report One Call Insurance has listened to the complaints of Deaf customer Suzie Jones who complained of deaf discrimination when arranging car insurance.
They have sorted out her car insurance and immediately implemented an SMS contact number for Deaf/Hard of hearing customers contacting their breakdown service. A move that benefits everyone.
Suzie posted complaints on Facebook and Twitter and we picked up the story. It really does show that social media can make a difference.
The alternative? Trading standards and EHRC advise sending a recorded delivery with a list of your complaints and what you want them to do to sort it.
Within that letter you have to give a company 14 working days to respond before you can take it further. That takes over a month!
In my case I never did get a reply from my recorded delivery letter sent to Orange sent on 28th August 2009 (yes nearly 2 years ago) about misselling me a mobile phone and shoddy customer service. That was my first blog, I tweeted and got interviewed by Radio Shropshire got the response (they cancelled the contract and took the mobile back).
With social media you can publicise your complaints and obtain a response within a week even sooner (The Head of BBC Worldwide Branding responsible for BBC Dr Who Experience agreed to sort out their issues within 3 days).
Equal access to services is important and One Call needed to know that.
How do you call a breadown service for help If you are Deaf you can’t use a telephone? Flag down a passer by and ask them to ring for you? Try doing that on the motorway! You can’t exactly cart a mincom, home phone line and electricity point around either.
Sending text messages or having a skype /video chat should be possible digital technology is here and it’s useful.
One Call’s decision to set up an SMS service as a result of Suzie’s complaints is the right one (and is in line with The Equalities Act 2011).
Whilst RAC and AA and Green Flag have offered a SMS text number for Deaf and Hard of Hearing customers to contact breakdown service for a number of years One Call had no such system in place till Suzie complained.
This is despite an estimated one in six of the population being Deaf or hard of hearing – that is 10 million D/deaf people in the UK (Source: Action on Hearing Loss).
Approximately 4 million are likely to be (or should be) hearing aids users and potential customers for any SMS service. Add in that 800,000 people in the UK who are severely or profoundly deaf and half (55%) of people over 60 have hearing loss. That is a lot of people.
So what did One Call say (they agreed to allow us to quote their response):
“I will furnish you with the relevant numbers for SMS to use in the event of a breakdown. At the moment the service is provided over three numbers, as it is a provisional system until we get a dedicated number in place. (We are in negotiations with our communication provider regarding this and should be active within the next couple of weeks).
Additionally, One Call will revise and start to dispatch amended literature (policy booklets etc) which advertises this SMS number upon finalisation of a designated number. I will of course, inform you of the progress made, and subsequently advise you when this designated number ‘goes live’. Again, I would welcome any input from yourselves as to how we can improve our services further.
So there you have it Twitter, Facebook and Pesky People blogs work and get a great result.
Why wait a month for a letter in response when you can do it digitally?